When I was contacted about Jax Boat Club, I recognized their logo from having dinner at Marker 32, but I had no idea exactly what it was. As I soon discovered, they provide an alternative to boat ownership through a members-only club. Since we’ve been married, Mike has gone through a couple of boats, and I have always loved getting out on the water, but hated the prep and cleanup required when we returned. So I was intrigued by the idea of having boats available to use without being totally responsible for their upkeep.
Marc and Anne, the owners of Jax Boat Club, invited my family and me out on a boating trip of our choice: a leisurely cruise down the Intracoastal, a boat ride and picnic on the beach at Fort George, or a family fishing trip. Since my husband is an avid fisherman, and my stepson, Dalton, has followed in his footsteps, I thought a fishing excursion would be a great way both to spend the weekend with my family and to introduce Kingsley to boating and fishing. Although she has fished off the dock at her grandparents’ house, she had not yet been boating on the Intracoastal, so she was really excited!
We arrived at Palm Cove Marina early on a gorgeous Saturday morning, just as the sun was rising. Mark was there to greet us with two other staff members, including Simon, our Captain for the day. He had the 26-foot Everglades boat all ready to go with fishing gear and bait. Kingsley practically leaped onto the boat, ready to “catch some fishies!” Simon had had particular success with a couple of fishing spots, so we headed out towards the Dames Point Bridge to hit one of them.
The ride out there was a blast; I loved watching Kingsley take everything in and enjoy every second of being on the boat. She was amazed by everything—the birds, fish in the water, bumps in the boat, going under the bridges. She constantly asked questions: “Why are there so many floating balls (buoys) in the water? Why can’t we pick them up? Why is that bird putting his head in the water?”
Having had no luck at our first stop, we moved to a spot right next to the bridge, and that’s when the fish started pouring into the boat! Dalton was the first one to pull in a yellow mouth trout, and Mike followed. Kingsley was initially excited to catch one and reel it in, but as soon as she saw it, she screamed bloody murder and ran to the other side of the boat–but as soon as the fish was off the hook and in the fish box, she was ready to reel in another one. I’ve always thought I was bad luck, because whenever I’ve gone fishing, no one has caught anything; on this trip, however, my luck changed, and I caught a few trout too.
We had enough yellow mouth trout for a delicious freshly caught dinner, and it was the best family outing we’ve experienced in a long time. Since Dalton is 16 years old and Kingsley is 3, it can be tough finding an activity that all four of us can enjoy together. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to get out on the water, and it was a blast for both of the kids.
Based on our outstanding experience, here are five reasons why you should know about Jax Boat Club and what they have to offer to families on the First Coast:
- Family-Friendly Fun: Boating is a great way to explore our beautiful waterways here in Northeast Florida and create all sorts of family fun. Jax Boat Club provides their members all the equipment they need to have a great time including tubes, skis, wakeboards, and more.
- No Prep or Cleanup: Once you reserve your boat, it will be there in the marina, all fueled up and ready to go. When you return, all you do is pull the boat into the marina and you’re on your way home–no cleanup!
- Variety: Jax Boat Club has an extensive fleet for you to choose from for your outing. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on one boat, you have a variety to choose from, based on what you want to do.
- Affordability: Boating is an expensive hobby, and although being a member isn’t cheap, it is an affordable option and a wonderful alternative to boat ownership.
- Convenience: It’s very time-consuming to prepare for an outing, as well as to maintain and clean up a boat, but Jax Boat Club makes it convenient for you to take your family out for a fishing trip and return in time for the Jags game or a ballet recital.
- Simon: Okay, I know I said five reasons, but Simon was wonderful, and Kingsley has a little bit of a crush on him (and I’m not going to lie, he was a pretty cute guy!). He was so sweet with her, extremely knowledgeable about fishing, and really made our trip special.
To learn more about membership opportunities at Jax Boat Club, you can visit their website or call 904-477-9794.